In the testimonial segment of our website you will find a couple of our alumni telling about their UUMUN experience. Among others, in these short personal stories they will elaborate on why they applied for our association, share their most memorable and treasured moment and/or what characteristic they have developed the most. In short, it will give you a first hand impression of what a year at UUMUN is like!
In 2014- 2015, I was part of the UUMUN delegation. I would describe a year at UUMUN as an insightful, exciting and dynamic year – in which you get to make new friends (at home and abroad) and learn useful skills that you can profit from the rest of your life. I believe they would describe that as an offer you can’t refuse?
At UUMUN, I have acquired skills that have been proven useful in my career. I started my career in The Hague at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a policy officer for Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Speeches for the Minister of important civil servants ought to be concise – staccato-style. In UUMUN-trainings you learn how to be concise by formulating your main message in 1 minute. At the Ministry, I also experienced what it’s really like to negotiate on a resolution – as coordinating the Dutch position at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva: assessing draft resolutions, writing instructions for my colleagues and informing the Minister whether the Netherlands could vote in favor, against or abstain. My UUMUN-experience definitely helped me in understanding the procedures early on. From 2018 to 2020, I was stationed as a diplomat in New Delhi at the Economic Department. All UN-organisations are represented in India, although they are more focused on the implementation of resolutions. My Embassy worked together with UNFCC (Climate) on sustainable trade between Dutch and Indian companies. Along with UNWomen and Shell India, we were active on female entrepreneurship in the energy sector. Working with the UN-colleagues always reminded me of UUMUN: an international group of people, working together in good spirit to make the world a better place.
Delegation 10 (2014-2015)
BSc Language & Culture Studies (Utrecht University) and MSc Middle Eastern Studies (University of Amsterdam) and MSc American Studies (Utrecht University)
Diplomat/spokesperson at Dutch Embassy in the UK
Delegation 12 (2016-2017)
BSc Law, MSc European Law, Utrecht University
Digital Policy Advisor for GroenLinks at the European Parliament in Brussels
Simona de Heer
In 2016-2017, I was the President of UUMUN’s 12th delegation. I studied law and did a Master’s degree in European Law at the University of Utrecht. Now, I work in the European Parliament in Brussels as a Digital Policy Advisor for GroenLinks, the Dutch delegation of the Greens/EFA group. During my UUMUN year I learnt a range of diplomatic skills, from public speaking and improvising to reaching common ground and communicating complex matters in a simple way. These are skills I now use daily in my professional life, for example when writing speeches or communications to the press or to the public. The fact that you don’t only follow trainings, but also work hard together as a team to make your year happen makes UUMUN extra exciting. What I enjoyed most was the amazing group of people and our weekly drinks in Ubica. Apart from the conferences in Oxford and Harvard, my best memories are of our fantastic week New York City!
Looking back, I can say with confidence that my year of UUMUN is one of the most memorable episodes of my time as a student at Utrecht University. I joined UUMUN in the academic year of 2019-2020 with the objective to translate the knowledge I gained during my BA History and MA International Relations to the international world of MUNs. Although ‘book knowledge’ has a value on its own, I felt the desire to improve my public speaking and lobbying skills to better grasp the ‘de facto’ world of international politics. UUMUN is a true treat for everyone interested in international politics and diplomacy.
Over the year, UUMUN taught me to challenge myself and broaden my horizon. Together with a group of ambitious students from all academic corners of our university (ranging from law students and historians to veterinarians and social scientists) we met several times a week to study, negotiate, listen to speeches and provide each other with feedback. It was a collective learning experience, all in preparation for the MUN conferences at the universities of Oxford and Harvard. It was fascinating to share this experience with a group of people I soon had the privilege to call friends.
I do strongly recommend everyone reading this to apply for UUMUN. It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience – in the professional, academic, and social sense of the expression. I have, without a doubt, made lifelong friends whilst, at the same time, I have been able to challenge myself in the fields of international politics, public speaking and lobbying. Skills that, in the year(s) that followed, have proven to be a tremendous asset in my professional career at the Dutch Ministry of Defense.
Delegation 15 (2019- 2020)
BA History, MA International Relations and MSc Public Administration, Utrecht University
Junior Researcher at the War Studies Research Centre